Researchers receive a $3.4 million grant from the NSF’s Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure

November 21st, 2017
Working with scientific images is arduous, and no simple platform exists for sharing them. That is all about to change.

UC Santa Barbara engineers and researchers have been awarded a $3.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation's Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure to build a large-scale distributed image-processing infrastructure (LIMPID) through a broad, interdisciplinary collaboration. Encompassing databases, image analysis and various scientific disciplines, their creation, BisQue, is an image informatics platform that makes it easy to share, distribute and collaborate with large image datasets.

"Think of BisQue as Google Docs for scientific images," said UCSB principal investigator B. S. Manjunath, who directs the campus's Center for Multimodal Big Data Science and Healthcare. "Imaging data is ubiquitous and much of big-data science is image-centric. Working with such data should be as simple as working with text files in Google Docs."

BisQue is unique in its ability to handle a wide range of imaging data across diverse scientific applications, ranging from marine and materials science to neuroscience and medical imaging. For example, Manjunath is working with co-PI Tresa Pollock, UCSB materials chair, to integrate algorithms developed specifically for processing materials imaging data into BisQue. Recent advances in materials tomography (cross-sectional imaging) are generating an enormous quantity of imaging data that must be reconstructed, shared with the community and further analyzed.

Explained Pollock, "LIMPID will greatly enhance our ability to work with large material data sets and will leverage advances made in computer vision and machine learning."

"In marine science, and particularly marine ecology, the technology to capture underwater images is growing exponentially, but most of the imaging data is manually processed," said co-PI Robert Miller, a research biologist in UCSB's Marine Science Institute. "In the Santa Barbara Channel Marine Biodiversity Observation Network, which is supported by NASA and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, we are developing image-analysis pipelines and models to process underwater imagery and automate the processes of identifying and quantifying marine organisms. LIMPID will expand that work dramatically to the point where UCSB will become the epicenter of image analysis technology for marine science."

A team at UC Riverside, the home campus of LIMPID collaborator Amit Roy-Chowdhury, will work with neuroscience researchers to analyze large volumes of live imaging data that capture neuronal activities in the Drosophila nervous system. The UCSB scientists also are collaborating with Nirav Merchant of the University of Arizona, where BisQue and the cyberinfrastructure CyVerse will be leveraged to further enable image-based scientific discoveries.

The potential impacts of the project are significant, ranging from wide dissemination of novel computer vision and deep learning methods to development of automatic methods that can leverage data and human feedback from large data sets for software training and validation.

"The main goal of LIMPID is to provide specific user communities—materials science, marine science and neuroscience—with the ability to share, test and refine methods that have common underlying algorithms and procedures," Merchant said.

Provided by University of California - Santa Barbara

This Science News Wire page contains a press release issued by an organization mentioned above and is provided to you “as is” with little or no review from Phys.Org staff.

More news stories

Weaponizing oxygen to kill infections and disease

The life-threatening bacteria called MRSA can cripple a hospital since it spreads quickly and is resistant to treatment. But scientists report that they are now making advances in a new technique that avoids antibiotics. ...

The environmental cost of contact lenses

Many people rely on contact lenses to improve their vision. But these sight-correcting devices don't last forever—some are intended for a single day's use—and they are eventually disposed of in various ways. Now, scientists ...

Sightings, satellites help track mysterious ocean giant

The sight of a basking shark's brooding silhouette gliding through the waters off western France is more than just a rare treat for sailors—it is a boon for scientists trying to trace its secretive migrations across the ...

Magnetized inflow accreting to center of Milky Way galaxy

Are magnetic fields an important guiding force for gas accreting to a supermassive black hole (SMBH) like the one that our Milky Way galaxy hosts? The role of magnetic fields in gas accretion is little understood, and trying ...